Stay Up Late and Gig Buddies discuss identity, diversity and equality

News from the Stay Up Late Ambassadors and the Gig Buddies Identity Group

Stay Up Late and Gig Buddies discuss identity, diversity and equality

Recently, a group of Gig Buddies participants from black and ethic minority backgrounds came together in Brighton for a project looking at identity. Jenny, who’s been supporting the group, came to talk to Stay Up Late Ambassadors from all around the UK at one of our regular Zoom meetings.

To emphasise the importance of this work Jenny pointed to the Ambassadors’ own pledge from the ten pledges they recently adopted:

“For everyone to feel welcome and no discrimination regardless of age, race, gender, sexuality or disability.”

Jenny said the Identity Group began from a similar angle:

“Our identity is more than our disability. At Stay Up Late we welcome everyone with acceptance and kindness to celebrate diversity, enjoy culture and enable togetherness.”

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter campaign one of our Gig Buddies participants, Lucy, designed a storyboard last year.

Getting the message out there

Daniel had worked with Lucy on the storyboard and explained why it was important.

Daniel: “To get the message out that people are equal and nobody should be discriminated against.”

Lucy’s storyboard is being framed and will be on display at an exhibition in Brighton in December as part of the Identity project.

You can download the pdf of the full story-board here

Identity and heritage

The Ambassadors also heard from Tony who made a video talking about his identity and heritage. As someone of mixed race and the only non-white boy in his school Tony said he did not encounter racism at school but that he was aware that others were not so fortunate.

Tony: “My Dad was from Trinidad and Tobago and my Mum was from Liverpool and he must have got a lot of stick because he was going out with a white woman. And in their day that wasn’t allowed.”

Tony summed up his attitude as follows: “Treat people how you would expect them to treat you – with respect and dignity.”

Tony’s video prompted quite a bit of discussion.

Daniel: “The two things that really hit me where when George Floyd got beat up by the police and Stephen Lawrence as well.”

Jason: “ I recently found out that I originated from a black family, the Johnsons, and we should all love each other no matter what colour, what race, what gender, whatever. We should love each other for who we are not what we are.”

Standing up to discrimination

Many of our ambassadors, all of whom have a learning disability and/or autism, have experienced discrimination themselves. This has made them acutely aware of the importance of tackling all forms of discrimination.

Nicole: “I was thrown out of a pub once because of my speech. They said I was drunk and I wasn’t.”

As Stay Up Late celebrates its tenth birthday this year our Ambassadors worked on coming up with ten pledges. We will be publicly launching these in December. Promoting equality, respecting diversity and treating people with respect is a theme that runs right through them.

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